Russian agency backs upstart nano-bio with tailored pricing plan

A Russian state agency is taking a big stake in a newly created U.K. biotech company set up to capitalize on freshly developed nanotech therapies with a plan to adjust the retail prices according to each country's ability to pay. Pro Bono Bio was set up with therapeutic assets from Celtic Pharma, a private equity group that specializes in the life sciences, and is being backed by RusNano, the Russian agency established to promote the development of the country's nano-ventures. They plan to give away treatments in Africa based on their ability to achieve sales in the West.

"This is a great example of U.K.-Russia collaboration at the cutting edge of R&D," boasted British Prime Minister David Cameron. "It demonstrates how British businesses can work together with their Russian counterparts to expand into new areas, creating jobs and prosperity here in the U.K."

Pro Bono, which plans to be listed in Europe sometime in the next few years, is getting started with the approval and launch of a new treatment for osteoarthritis. The biotech says it has two more treatments preparing to launch in coming months with more treatments in the pipeline, including a haemophilia drug and new antibiotics.

RusNano has been a big investor in Celtic, sinking $477 million into its funds, and will have a 40% stake in the new Pro Bono. John Mayo, the founder of Celtic, is taking the helm at Pro Bono. The newly hatched biotech plans to start operations with contract manufacturers as it blueprints custom facilities in Russia and the U.K.

- check out the Pro Bono Bio release
- see the Reuters story
- here's the Financial Times piece